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August 13, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Chopper gets set to join polar ship

CHINA'S polar explorer ship Xuelong will carry a new helicopter for its next Antarctic trip following the fatal crash of its last service chopper in April.

The Kamov Ka-32 ship-based chopper, imported from Russia, is undergoing tests in Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province.

It is scheduled to board the Xuelong vessel on October 9, two days before it sets off from its home base at Shanghai's Waigaoqiao Port for its 26th Antarctic research expedition, port immigration police said yesterday.

It is the first time Xuelong will have its own helicopter as well as having two choppers in service on a mission at the same time.

It had been assisted by a single rented helicopter during each previous trip.

"The ship's management said they wanted to reinforce its helicopter force after the chopper crash," said Zhang Xinxin, a port immigration police officer.

The Ka-32 chopper is capable of carrying 16 passengers at full capacity and can fly 2.5 hours without refueling.

The other helicopter to assist in the new mission will still be rented from the Harbin-based China Flying Dragon General Aviation Co.

Xuelong is undergoing maintenance in Shanghai.

After leaving Shanghai on October 11, it will stop by New Zealand for supplies and then head for the Antarctic.


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